[[caption-width-right:350:''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL30lU26egw "I am Mega Man.]]'' ''[[{{Brentalfloss}} I'm blue and cyan..."]]'']]
After the runaway success of ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'', {{Capcom}} realized they had a hit franchise on their hands, and it was only natural for them to soon follow up with ''Mega Man 3'' (''Rockman 3: The End of Dr. Wily!?'' in Japan) in 1990.

The story is centered some time after ''2'', where Dr. Wily has seemingly reformed after his previous two defeats, and is now working alongside Dr. Light to build a peacekeeping robot called Gamma. However, a batch of robot masters in charge of eight mining operations go berserk and start wreaking havoc. Naturally, Mega Man is sent off to stop the rogue machines, this time with the help of his new canine companion, Rush! Along his journies, he encounters a mysterious being called Break Man, who keeps fighting him, as if to test him...

Obviously, it turns out Dr. Wily was behind the whole scheme, tricking Mega Man into defeating the robot masters so he could steal Light's prototype robot, Gamma, and use it for his own evil ends. After a climatic battle, Gamma is destroyed and Wily surrenders again...only for both him and Mega Man to be seemingly crushed to death under the rubble of his collapsing lair. Fortunately, Mega Man is rescued by Break Man, who drops him off at Dr. Light's lab and hastily departs, where its revealed that his real identity is Proto Man, Mega Man's long lost, aloof older brother.

All in all, ''3'' was another hit in the series, selling over a million copies and receiving excellent critical reception, although not quite on par with 2. The refined gameplay of ''2'' was expanded upon further, with the "Items" turned into the far more flexible Rush vehicles, a much higher limit on how many E-Tanks you could carry (nine instead of four), and a new [[SlideAttack slide move]]. On top of that, ''3'' is the longest game in the entire {{NES}} Mega Man series, with a whopping 18 stages total! Unfortunately, Keiji Inafune claimed that ''3'' was his [[CreatorBacklash least favorite Mega Man game]], due to the [[ExecutiveMeddling strained development of the game]] keeping it from reaching its full potential in his eyes, as well as losing the simplicity of the previous two games.

As with ''[[VideoGame/MegaMan1 1]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/MegaMan2 2]]'', ''3'' would later receive a [[UpdatedRerelease 16-bit upgrade]] as part of the [[NoExportForYou Europe and Japan-only]] ''Mega Man: The Wily Wars''/''Rockman Megaworld'' cartridge for the UsefulNotes/SegaGenesis [[note]] Aside from being a Sega Channel exclusive for a brief time, and an eventual local release as a bundle with other Sega games in the Sega Genesis Ultimate Portable Player.[[/note]]. It would also receive a Japan-only {{PS1}} re-release as ''Rockman 3: Complete Works'', complete with remixed music and bonus content. The game would eventually get a major re-release as part of ''Anniversary Collection'' for {{PS2}}, UsefulNotes/NintendoGameCube and UsefulNotes/{{Xbox}}, and it is now available on VirtualConsole.

Robot Masters:
* DWN-017: Needle Man, weak to Gemini Laser, gives [[SpikeShooter Needle Cannon]]
* DWN-018: Magnet Man, weak to Shadow Blade/Spark Shock, gives [[SelectiveMagnetism Magnet Missile]]
* DWN-019: Gemini Man, weak to Search Snake, gives [[ReflectingLaser Gemini Laser]]
* DWN-020: Hard Man, weak to Hard Knuckle/Magnet Missile, gives [[RocketPunch Hard Knuckle]]
* DWN-021: Top Man, weak to Hard Knuckle, gives [[SpinAttack Top Spin]]
* DWN-022: Snake Man, weak to Search Snake/Needle Cannon, gives the [[WallCrawl Search Snake]]
* DWN-023: Spark Man, weak to Spark Shock/Shadow Blade, gives the [[StaticStunGun Spark Shock]]
* DWN-024: Shadow Man, weak to Top Spin, gives the [[GratuitousNinja Shadow Blade]]


* ActuallyADoombot: The pilot of the first Wily Machine.
* AllThereInTheManual: The only way to learn about the story, since the game's rushed production didn't afford it the luxury of having an ''intro cutscene''.
* ChekhovsBoomerang: The Top Spin. It's useful against Shadow Man, but otherwise it's one of the worst weapons in ''Mega Man'' history [[spoiler: except for the fact that it defeats the final boss in one hit, assuming you have enough Rush Jet energy to get yourself into the correct position.]]
* ContinuityNod: The Eight Doc Robots download the attack patterns of the eight Robot Master bosses from ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'', and the ending scene that looks up all of Dr. Light's Robot Masters shows the six bosses from ''VideoGame/MegaMan1''.
** Also, stages 1 and 2 of Doctor Wily's fortress bear more than a passing resemblance to the first and fourth Wily stages from the previous game.
* CrateExpectations: A form of this appears as canisters with a "?" on them. Shooting them gets you a random item, from a small energy refill to a 1-Up to an [[EmergencyEnergyTank Energy Tank]]. They were exclusive to this game, however the mechanic was modified into Eddie in later games.
* DiscOneFinalBoss: The Wily Machine. As soon as it's destroyed and Dr. Wily starts begging for mercy, "his" head pops off, revealing that he's a [[ActuallyADoombot robotic fake]].
* DoppelgangerAttack: Gemini Man's specialty, along with FrickinLaserBeams. The Mega Man clones in Wily's fortress are also a variant.
* ElementalRockPaperScissors: A staple of the series, but a truly bizarre variant of this appears; Snake Man[[note]] Weak to Needle Cannon [[/note]], Gemini Man[[note]]Weak to Search Snake[[/note]] and Needle Man[[note]]Weak to Gemini Laser[[/note]] are weak to each others' weapons.
* EternalEngine: Spark Man's stage.
* EverythingIsBetterWithSpinning: The Top Spin weapon. Subverted, as it's [[JokeWeapon not very effective most of the time]] ([[LethalJokeWeapon unless you do know how to use it well]]), and requires MercyInvincibility to work on bosses.
* FatalFlaw: All of the Robot Masters are weak to their own weapons.
* FinalBoss: Gamma.
* GiantMook: The Large Mets in the remastered Needle Man Stage.
* GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere: The Doc Robots, arguably. They simply just appear after the 8 Robot Masters are defeated, and are then not mentioned or even referenced in later games. Heck, even on the stage select screen, they simply appear as mysterious silhouettes, and the usual boss intro screen simply displays a question mark symbol and nothing else.
* GratuitousNinja: Shadow Man
* HijackedByGanon: Dr. Wily does the first instance of many in the series. A bit of a Downplayed example, though, as the game never mentions its own story, so [[AllInTheManual without the manual]] you have little to no indication that there's even a RedHerring in the first place. Subverted with the Japanese version of the game, where the subtitle outright spoils that Wily is the villain yet again.
* HollywoodMagnetism: Magnet Man is able to pull Mega Man in towards himself whenever he activates his magnetic field. It'll pull Mega Man in at the same speed regardless of your location on the screen.
* HomingProjectile: The Magnet Missiles are a variation.
* HumongousMecha: Gamma.
* JustThinkOfThePotential: Why did they build Gamma? Dr. Wily wanted to TakeOverTheWorld, duh. But [[ActualPacifist Dr. Light]] thought this would be a peacekeeping robot?
* LethalJokeWeapon: The Top Spin is often ridiculed as the worst weapon in the series when it's actually quite potent in the right hands. It's a OneHitKill on any non-boss enemy except Hammer Joes. It is also the weakness of Shadow Man and no less than ''three'' bosses in the Wily stages, [[spoiler: including the Final Boss, which it downs in ''one hit.'']]
* LongSongShortScene: A few tunes, like the Skull Castle intermission theme and Proto Man's theme in the cast roll, never played in their entirety. And thanks to the lack of an opening, you're unlikely to pay attention to the main theme of this game when first playing it.
* LosingHorns: Type C. The "Game Over!" theme is very jolly and seems to be so to rub your nose in your failure.
* MagnetismManipulation: Magnetman's gimmick is magnetism; he can either fire homing Magnet Missiles or pulling Mega Man towards him with magnetic force. The blurb also mentions more of it: He's been known for sleeping on ceilings by attaching himself on them and likes giving magnetic therapy, but he has to avoid floppy disks and other sensitive electronics because his magnetic field can affect them.
* MercyInvincibility: As in all Mega Man games, but also the only way to use Top Spin on stronger enemies.
* MissionPackSequel
* MultiMookMelee: The Kamegoro Maker invokes this.
* {{Nerf}}: The Shadow Blade is a weakened version of the Metal Blade from ''[[VideoGame/MegaMan2 2]]''. Despite its lower range and higher energy cost, it's still an incredibly useful weapon, which goes to show just how broken the Metal Blade was.
* ObviousBeta: A much less severe example than most, though there are still some quirks at times (uneven energy use for the Top Spin, all Robot Masters being weak to their own weapons, inaccurate Skull Castle map paths, etc).
* OneHitKill: All it takes to defeat Gamma's second form is one Top Spin.
* PowerCopying: [[TropeCodifier Naturally]], but there's a twist this time: the hologram Mega Men fortress boss, instead of mirroring whatever weapon you've got readied, can fire plasma shots in any direction instead of just left or right.
* PuzzleBoss: The Hologram Mega Men.
* RecognizableBySound: Dr. Light recognized Proto Man's identity after he heard his whistle.
* RecurringBoss: Break Man (aka Proto Man). The Yellow Devil and Mega Man copy return from [[VideoGame/MegaMan1 the first game]], and the eight Doc Robots use the patterns of the ''VideoGame/MegaMan2'' bosses.
* ReflectingLaser: Gemini Laser.
** However, to avoid it being useless or having plenty incredibly obvious "use it here" sections, it breaks the normal "angle of reflection equals angle of incidence" rule of physics, and the first bounce will always be a 45 degree upward angle. Subsequent bounces will follow the rule.
* RemixedLevel: After beating all eight robot masters, you don't go directly to a fortress like in most games. Instead, Spark Man, Needle Man, Gemini Man, and Shadow Man's stages will open back up. They have drastically different layouts and each of them has two Doc Robot bosses, which mimic the robot masters from ''VideoGame/MegaMan2''.
* RocketPunch: The Hard Knuckle.
* SequelHook[=/=]TheStinger: Though it seemed Wily had been crushed by the debris from his collapsing fortress, you can see what looks like his saucer floating away in the distance as Mega Man is gazing up at the sky during the ending.
* SpikeShooter: Needle Cannon.
* SpinAttack: Top Spin.
* SpinToDeflectStuff: Top Man does this.
* SpoilerTitle: The subtitle of the Japanese version of the game outright spoils the twist of Dr. Wily being the villain again, as well as his supposed "death" at the end of the game.
* StaticStunGun: The Spark Shock behaves like this when Mega Man uses it. It deals no direct damage (except to bosses), and instead incapacitates the enemy for a few seconds if it's vulnerable to it.
* SuspiciousVideoGameGenerosity: Stage 2 of Wily's fortress is fairly short, doesn't have many enemies, and comes with two Energy Tanks. Then it throws the Yellow Devil at you.
** CheckpointStarvation: It's also the only Wily level in the entire series that, if you die at the boss, makes you replay the entire level.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: The [[FuumaShuriken Shadow Blade]] is basically a [[{{Nerf}} nerfed]] version of the [[VideoGame/MegaMan2 Metal Blade]].
* TwistEnding: While [[ItWasHisSled a very, very well-known one nowadays,]] the end reveals that Proto Man is DLN-000, making him Mega Man's brother.
* UpdatedRerelease: The ''Wily Wars'' remake, and to a lesser degree, the ''Complete Works'' PSX port and the ''Anniversary Collection'' GCN, PS2, and Xbox ports.
* UpgradeVsPrototypeFight: The game has Mega Man face off against his "older brother" Proto Man (a.k.a. Break Man) a few times.
* UtilityWeapon: The Hard Knuckle is the only weapon that can destroy those hard walls.
* VillainsWantMercy: Both the robotic Wily imposter and the real one in the ending.
* WallCrawl: Search Snakes do this.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Shadow Man, one of the toughest Robot Masters in the game, is weak to the Top Spin (which requires ''close contact'', no less). Same goes for Wily's final form.
* WhamShot: During the ending.
--> No. 000 Proto Man
--> New robot prototype, [[spoiler:[[LukeIAmYourFather brother of Mega Man]]]].